TEMPE, Ariz. — The formula for the St. Louis Rams' resurgence couldn't be simpler. Get the ball to Marshall Faulk.
Even when he's hurting.
Faulk overcame leg cramps to rush for 178 yards in 27 carries Sunday, including the clinching 13-yard touchdown with 1:53 to play, as the defending NFC champions won their third consecutive game after an 0-5 start, 27-14 over the Arizona Cardinals.
"He was cramping up," Ram quarterback Marc Bulger said. "I saw the look on his face and I didn't know if he was going to make it, but he showed something out there today."
St. Louis is 19-0 when Faulk reaches triple digits in rushing. He had 16 carries in the fourth quarter.
"That's what I'm here to do," Faulk said. "I'm here to be in there at crunch time, getting those carries, running out the clock. That's my job. Sometimes you're not 100%. Sometimes you're not 90. But you've got to go out there and give it your all."
In the Rams' three-game winning streak, Faulk has gained 571 yards in 85 attempts and has 16 catches for 132 yards.
Bulger, 3-0 as the starter in the absence of injured Kurt Warner, completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice. The second interception resulted a return for an Arizona touchdown that cut the lead to 17-14 with 10:36 to play.
"You take that play out of there, and he was nothing short of outstanding," Ram Coach Mike Martz said. "That's a young player's mistake. If that's his only bad mistake in three games, which it is, then you've got to be very happy where he is."